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Life Is Beautiful triumphs at One World; East Doc Platform rewards Under the Spell


- The feature by Mohamed Jabaly has scooped the top prize at the human rights film gathering, while the Polish project by Łukasz Konopa emerged victorious at the industry event

Life Is Beautiful triumphs at One World; East Doc Platform rewards Under the Spell
l-r: Zdenek Blaha, Bence Máté, Aneta Ptak and Daria Maślona with their East Doc Platform awards

The big winner of this year’s East Doc Platform (EDP), Under the Spell, is a Polish project directed by Łukasz Konopa and tells the weird story of famous Russian hypnotiser Anatolij Kaspirovsky, who worked in the 1980s and healed people through TV broadcasts – which this journalist can attest to. The jury, comprising Ania Trzebiatowska from the Sundance Film Festival, Lucie Kon from the BBC and Diana Karklin from Rise and Shine World Sales, wrote in their statement, “Some of us who grew up in the Eastern Bloc know this story. But it is also powerful and interesting for those who are meeting the protagonist for the first time through this film. In these times of uncertainty, the story of a charismatic man who managed to seduce the masses invites discussion about what drives so many people to follow similar figures. We believe this is why audiences around the world will want to see the film and have this discussion.”

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Hot docs EFP inside

The awards of East Doc Platform, which unspooled from 22-28 March, and which is the most important industry gathering dedicated to documentary film and series projects from Central and Eastern Europe, were announced during the closing ceremony of the One World International Human Rights Film Festival, a partner event presenting films on human rights.

Further prizes were given to a variety of promising projects: Poland’s Birdie by Aneta Ptak won a trophy from HBO Max, while a documentary series that is a joint effort between Germany, Austria, Croatia and Italy, Tito. The West’s Favorite Dictator by Bence Máté, was granted the Czech Television Co-production Award. The Ex Oriente Film documentary laboratory, which is part of EDP, also celebrated its winners: the aforementioned Birdie (the Golden Funnel Award), the Ukrainian-Polish effort Keepers of the Ruins by Mariia Shevchenko (Fine Cut Award), and the Lithuanian-Mexican project The Poor Cry Too by Viktorija Mickute and Ieva Balsiunaite (Cut Thru the Noise Award). Another 12 awards were given out by EDP and the Institute of Documentary Film (IDF), an organiser of the partner events.

Two days before the ceremony, on 26 March, the Silver Eye Award for the best feature-length documentary film presented at East Doc Platform was announced, and it went to Adelina Borets for Flowers of Ukraine. The Other One by Marie-Magdalena Kochová went home with a Special Mention.

The closing night of both events – EDP and One World IFF – also served as an occasion to give out prizes to the films screened during the Prague-based festival. The cinemas were visited by 20,000 viewers, and the audience gave their respective award to the Czech doc Is There a Place for Me, Please? by Jarmila Štuková, which gives voice to a victim of a violent attack condoned by her ex-boyfriend.

The International Competition Jury gave its gong to Life Is Beautiful [+see also:
film review
film profile
by Mohamed Jabaly, whose one-month trip in 2014 turned into a forced exile from Gaza now entering its 11th year. The Best Director Award was bestowed upon Silence of Reason [+see also:
film review
film profile
by Kumjana Novakova, which sheds light on the victims of sexual violence during the war in Bosnia. The Václav Havel Jury, which picked its winner from among the films rounded up in the Right to Know category, plumped for Extremists.Br by Caio Cavechini from Brazil. Viera Čákanyová’s Notes from Eremocene [+see also:
film review
interview: Viera Čákanyová
film profile
bagged the Czech Jury Award, while Tack by Vania Turner was the Regional Jury’s choice. The Student Jury went for Anne Marte Blindheim’s Rahčan – Ella’s Riot, and the Children’s Jury’s favourite was the short Girl with Brass Rings by Sai Naw Kham. Last but not least, the Jury of Immersive Films rewarded I Took a Lethal Dose of Herbs by Yvette Granata.

The 26th edition of the One World International Human Rights Film Festival unspooled from 20-28 March in Prague, Boskovice, Jeseník, Šumperk and Vsetín. In the coming days and weeks, the event will expand to 43 other cities in the country, where it will run until 21 April.

Here is the full list of winners at East Doc Platform and One World IFF:

East Doc Platform awards

East Doc Platform Award
Under His Spell – Łukasz Konopa (Poland)
Producer: Daria Maślona (Silver Frame)

HBO Max Award
Birdie – Aneta Ptak (Poland)
Producer: Małgorzata Staroń (Staron-Film)

Czech TV Co-production Award
Tito. The West's Favorite Dictator - Bence Máté (Germany/Austria/Croatia/Italy)
Producers: Gunnar Dedio, Regina Bouchehri (Looks Filmproduktionen GmbH)

Ex Oriente awards

Cut Thru the Noise Award
The Poor Cry Too - Viktorija Mickute, Ieva Balsiunaite (Lithuania/Mexico)
Producer: Dagne Vildziunaite (Just A Moment)

Ex Oriente Fine Cut Award
Keepers of the Ruins - Mariia Shevchenko (Ukraine/Poland)
Producer: Ella Shtyka (New Kyiv)

Golden Funnel Award
Birdie – Aneta Ptak

EDP partner awards

Sunny Side of the Doc Prize
Not in the Business of Making Friends - Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan (Romania)
Producers: Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan, Elena Martin (Manifest Film)

DOK Leipzig DOK Co-Pro Market Award
Letters - Andrei Kutsila (Poland/Belarus)
Producers: Sofiia Zadorozhna, Mirosław Dembiński (DocEdu Foundation)

DocsBarcelona Award
Tito. The West's Favorite Dictator - Bence Máté

MIA Market Award
Man Under the Ice - Eva Tomanová (Czech Republic)
Producers: Michal Kráčmer, Veronika Kührová, Kenan Aliyev (Alter Vision sro)

Docs Ireland Award
Big in Gazi Baba - Pauline Isabelle Monique Blanchet (North Macedonia/UK)
Producers: Avdi Thachi, Romir Jakupi (Lumiere Films)

Baltic Sea Docs Award
Acting Classes - Sasha Shegai (Kazakhstan)
Producers: Yevgeniya Moreva, Sasha Shegai

Millennium Docs Against Gravity Award
Birdie - Aneta Ptak

DAE Pitch Talent Encouragement Prize
Acting Classes - Sasha Shegai

Pitch the Doc Prize
VOICE/OVER - Bálint Révész (Czech Republic)
Producers: Radovan Síbrt, Viki Réka Kiss (ARINAFILM)

One World International Human Rights Film Festival awards

International Competition Jury Award

Best Film
Life Is Beautiful [+see also:
film review
film profile
- Mohamed Jabaly (Norway/Palestine)

Best Director 
Kumjana Novakova – Silence of Reason [+see also:
film review
film profile
(Bosna and Herzegovina/North Macedonia)

Czech Jury Award
Notes from Eremocene [+see also:
film review
interview: Viera Čákanyová
film profile
- Viera Čákanyová (Czech Republic/Slovakia)

Vaclav Havel Jury Award
Extremists.Br - Caio Cavechini (Brazil)

Regional Jury Award
Tack - Vania Turner (Greece)

Audience Award
Is There a Place for Me, Please? - Jarmila Štuková (Czech Republic)

Audience Award of the Abakus Foundation for Extraordinary Debate
Tack – Vania Turner

Immersive Film Competition Award
I Took a Lethal Dose of Herbs - Yvette Granata (USA)

Student Jury Award
Rahčan – Ella’s Riot - Anne Marte Blindheim (Norway)

Children’s Jury Award
Girl with Brass Rings - Sai Naw Kham (Myanmar)

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